Commonwealth Badminton Bronze Medallist and Olympian Susan Egelstaff joined eight young people from across Aberdeenshire as part of a special celebration of ‘Aberdeenshire Leaders’ recently (Wednesday, December 2).
The young people who have an interest in sport and volunteering received certificates in recognition of their work over the last year and heard an inspiring talk from Susan Egelstaff on leadership and volunteering in sport.
The 2015 Aberdeenshire Leaders who received Certificates of Achievement at the event at Aberdeenshire Council’s headquarters at Woodhill House in Aberdeen were: Andrew Ritchie (Ellon Academy), Ashley Morrice (Meldrum Academy), Hannah Norrie (Meldrum Academy), Megan Knight (Meldrum Academy), Jamie Harper (Inverurie Academy), Claire McBain (Mackie Academy), Hannah Anderson (Mackie Academy), Corrie Dicks (Mackie Academy).
The young people have gained qualifications from several sporting governing bodies as well as volunteering at a number of high profile events as part of the programme run by Active Schools and Aberdeenshire Council.
Megan Knight, 17, said: “Having finished my Duke of Edinburgh Award I wanted to try the Aberdeenshire Leaders programme as it introduced new challenges across the whole of Aberdeenshire.
“It has given me many opportunities such as leading sessions on the climbing wall at the Portsoy Boat Festival and making new friends from across Aberdeenshire.
“I have a sense of achievement having completed the programme and will look back with fondness on the rewarding year I have spent as an Aberdeenshire Leader.”
Active Schools is supported by sportscotland and local authorities and is a key element in the Scottish Government’s National Physical Activity Strategy: ‘Let’s Make Scotland More Active’.
Active Schools and Community Officers for Formartine and Marr respectively, Malcolm Grant and Susi Mclarty, coordinated this year’s programme which was the first that involved a stand-alone programme within Aberdeenshire and one that saw engagement with local partners such as Run Balmoral, The Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival and Run Garioch.
The Aberdeenshire Leaders carried out marshalling duties at Run Garioch and Run Balmoral before heading to Portsoy where they spent the weekend camping and helping to run the popular sports village that operates alongside the boat festival.
Training for the leaders was provided by Aberdeenshire Council, FTS First Aid Training, Scottish Hockey and the Scottish Volleyball Association as well as internal inputs from sportscotland and Active Schools.
Malcolm Grant said: “Once again this year’s programme has been very rewarding for everyone who has been involved and we are delighted with the efforts of the eight Aberdeenshire Leaders as part of the second intake to Aberdeenshire Council’s sports leadership programme.
“This year has also seen the programme gain recognition at the Inspiring Aberdeenshire Awards as well as the introduction of a more personalised training programme that allows the leaders to diversify into their areas of interest.”
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee Councillor Alison Evison said: “It is fantastic for young people to gain recognition for their hard work and commitment to their local communities.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to hear from an inspirational athlete such as Susan, who no doubt will motivate the young people further to achieve great things.
“This event builds on the success of the young people who were nominated in two categories earlier this year at the Inspiring Aberdeenshire Awards.
“It is good to meet this year’s intake and hear about their experiences during 2015 and how they feel it will assist them in the future.”
Vice chair Councillor Charles Buchan added: “Aberdeenshire Council and the Aberdeenshire area in general benefits greatly from the volunteers who give up their own time to provide support across all our sectors.
“I am extremely pleased that these eight young people have given up a substantial amount of their own time to not only make a contribution to Aberdeenshire but also to their own self development.”